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Heart-Smart Flavor Boosters!


How do you love your heart? One of the ways you can be good to your heart is following a heart-smart diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, low-fat dairy, seafood and lean meats. It also includes lowering levels of added sugars, sodium, saturated and trans fats and cholesterol in your diet.

The American Heart Association® recommends consuming less than 1,500 mg of sodium a day. Reducing your sodium intake can help promote healthy blood pressure levels. Always check the labels on the foods you buy for sodium levels to help you make heart smart choices. Eating a lower sodium and heart-smart diet can be delicious and full of flavor; all you need are a few good tips to boost the flavor in your meals without boosting the sodium content.

These simple tips will get you started

  • Add vinegar (rice, balsamic, white wine) or citrus juice to foods just before eating. Vinegar is great on vegetables and greens, cooked or raw. Citrus is delicious on melons, berries, broccoli, fresh salad greens and seafood. Citrus segments, like oranges, pair perfectly with fish.

  • Turn up the heat with fresh, hot peppers. Remove membrane and seeds before chopping. A small amount goes a long way. Bonus: hot foods, like hot peppers, boost your body temperature and can temporarily boost your metabolism.
  • Dried vegetables and fruits offer robust flavor bursts. Try dried mushrooms, tomatoes, chili peppers, cherries, cranberries and currants in your favorite dishes.
  • For an earthy and satisfying flavor use ¼ tsp or more dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary or marjoram instead of ¼ tsp salt. You’ll save 600 mg sodium.
  • Sprinkle dry mustard into recipes for a zesty kick. Make a paste with water for a boldly flavored condiment.

How much sodium is in:

Salt                               Sodium
1/4 tsp                          600 mg
1/2 tsp                          1,200 mg
3/4 tsp                          1,800 mg
1 tsp                             2,300 mg

Source: American Heart Association®